The Downfall Of My Demon — A Shadow In My Heart & Misery A Friend
By Petrine Severin
“To see you naked is to recall the earth”
—Federico Garcia Lorca, 1898-1936
Without me, you’re nothing.
The demon is hissing in my ear. It senses when I’m most vulnerable then sits on my chest to protect me. The more vulnerable I am, the bigger, the stronger, it gets. And the harder it is to breathe.
I’m struggling with that demon. A tedious conflict. It wheezes and hisses in my ear continuously,
Without me you’re nothing but a lonely pathetic creature, but you know I love you and I’ll protect you always.
. . .
I’m off to exotic Spain, dreaming of a brand new start after seeing my life turning into a nightmare.
The man I loved more than life, has left me. He’s now the future father of another woman’s unborn child. With his ridiculous infidelity, he stole my dream. Belittled by his betrayal I turn to my demon, whose claws lovingly dig into my soft defenseless skin, reminding me of my failure. My loved one is not dead, but in my dreams, I kill him in a hundred very imaginative ways.
I’m strangely drawn to the city of Granada, where the Spanish poet Lorca used to live. There, a world of mystery is revealed. In the small pension, saints and Madonna’s are reaching for us and the demon squirms and wiggles. Flowers are everywhere and on this hot summer night, the sweet smell is mixed with the smell of barbecued meat. It feels like home and we slide into a soft armchair fantasising about a carefree life. Away from adultery and grief.
At dawn, I seek out Lorca’s favourite whereabouts. I feel connected with his endless despair – he watched his country perish by the hands of the fascist regime. But like him, I feel fulfilled by the sensuality and the soulful atmosphere of the city. I let my hand run along the white dusty walls and the worn down wooden doors in the crooked streets. Granada is such a physical experience of both abysmal pain and unearthly joy. I let myself be seduced, shamelessly.
I walk across the Plaza Nueva where one of the fortune tellers grabs my unwilling hand and studies it. She looks at me with bewilderment, “there’s a shadow in your heart and misery is your friend,” while pressing a bunch of rosemary into the palm of my hand. I pull my hand out of her tight grip and walk away. She yells at me, angrily. Then I run, laughing.
In the fading sunset, I write the name of my loved one in blood on the ground and wish him ill. The demon shrieks in my ear, “you and me, we are everything to each other” and it grows bigger and stronger. The intoxicating feeling of the local wine leaves me wallowing in bloody curses and I feel almost alive. The demon dances on my chest, eyes glowing.
I let Granada invade my deepest secrets and surrender to moments of sheer weightlessness. Despite that stinging feeling of desolation, I clearly sense the growing and unfolding of my wounded wings. Granada is singing its “cante jondo” to me – the song of the malnourished soul reclaiming the kinship with what’s buried deep inside of me: an old memory of my true nature. Tracking down and piquing my intimacy, forcing me to break open and filling me with a strange longing.
In the evening my secret lover visits me. He’s secret because he’s with another woman who carries his child. I’m now the other woman, the target of untamed desire. I feel an unveiled joy when he looks at me. The demon rolls off of my chest, aroused and moaning lustily next to me. I stroke its wiry head and whisper, “YOU can’t live without me, but I’m no longer in need of your protection.”
I dig my red fingernails into the tough grey fur, resentment and bitterness slowly leaks from its flesh, together with the thick dark blood. After a while, the demon is nothing but a small sticky black lump on the floor.
Next day I leave the pension. I adeptly remove a couple of wiry hair strands from my sleeve and stride across the Plaza Nueva, where the fortune tellers are lurking in the shadows, ready to reveal my magical secrets. Their rough faces telling a story about complicated sunsets and light that failed to reach its destination, yet never ceased to shine.
“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.”
—Federico Garcia Lorca
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